Rumours have begun to circulate about Tottenham’s possible interest in Oostende left-back Jordan Lukaku, though the club might have competition from Chelsea or Everton.
The 21-year-old is Everton striker Romelu Lukaku’s younger brother. Both players started in Anderlecht’s vaunted youth academy, but have since seen their courses into full time professional football diverge.
Whereas the elder Lukaku made big money moves to first Chelsea and then Everton, Jordan has had to settle for the Belgian Pro League’s Oostende FC.
He has undergone a recent blossoming, however, and over the last two seasons has proved to be a vital part of Oostende’s efforts to rise to their current fourth place position in the league table.
Among Lukaku’s main appeals is his versatility. Though he’s played exclusively at left-back this season, he’s also able to play further up the pitch in more attacking roles. He’s registered two goals and six assists so far this season over 22 games.
Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino likes an attacking full-back, and would also appreiate Lukaku’s youth and ability to play in multiple positions. While those are traits that make him a good Spurs candidate on the surface, there’s a lot more to unpack with this story.
Currently Spurs are switching left-back duties between Danny Rose and Ben Davies. It has easily been the most heavily rotated position in a squad that Pochettino rarely likes to rotate.
Despite both players’ inability to lock down a permanent starting role, they have each hit their stride when they’ve been given a chance.
Rose has always been known for his penchant in getting forward in attack, though at times over the seasons it’s often come at the expense of his defensive duties. This term he’s visibily matured and now can be found regularly patrolling up and down Tottenham’s left flank.
In the midst of Rose’s defensive struggles, Tottenham brought in Davies from Swansea. The Welshman is younger and a more committed defender than Rose, and consequently he was often fielded in games where it seemed as if the opposition might try to find some advantage from their right flank.
As time wore on, though, it became clear that both players were benefitting from having to compete with one another for a starting berth. Rose’s defensive game grew in proportion to Davies’ attacking game. This season has been a prolonged narrative of the two Spurs left-backs both meeting in the middle.
So if Spurs already have two left-backs who are maturing before our eyes, why bring in a third? Is it just to provide additional competition or cover? Or is Pochettino unsatisfied with one or both of Davies and Rose?
These are all hard to answer, especially because at the moment Spurs’ link with Jordan Lukaku is only gossip. If indeed the Belgian is brought to Spurs, it would be hard to justify having three left-backs in the squad. Someone would have to either be moved on to another club.
Neither Rose or Davies is performing so poorly as to earn a move elsewhere. If Spurs are indeed looking for another left-back, they may be better served to find someone younger who could at least serve in the academy for a season or two before competing for a first team spot.
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